Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 13 February 2017

  • Lip Service, or, La Haine


    Kiss you, take your children.
    Riotous though it is, this shit’s not for kids.

    La Haine is bloating through drive-in speakers, serenading ‘68
    miasma, she and Humbert staring down the barrel of the same
    animal gun, wincing.

    I will cross you if you come over all drunk-like,
    tarantella con dolcezza with your latest organ grinder.
    Find Slovenia with your head full of black, black wine
    — dim donkey piñata —
    an industry of collagen in scapegoat giallo.

    How can I follow the winters,
    archangel of interns; doubting Thomas
    and his motives. Intimate metastasis
    intrigues the censor, his biting wounds
    inwardly glow

    and Venus infers her worth from a table.
    Her onus, her offending isotopes,
    eyes big as gum balls, swings rapidly,
    a timeshare in blazing saddles and
    neat little ellipticals.

    I hope, I know as you do,
    we’ll settle kindly out of court;
    — you form –isms like Christmas —
    sweet Mary shares her sweat with an ostler,
    a meek swearing cross to milk.


    by Charlotte Newman


    Poetry news! Award-winning Danish poet Pia Tafdrup visits the UK this week in a short tour organized by the Poetry Centre. Pia will be in Reading on Wednesday, reading with Peter Robinson, will be in discussion with Fiona Sampson in Ledbury on Thursday, and will be reading withPhilip Gross in Oxford on Friday. For more details, visit the dedicated page on the Centre’s website. To coincide with Pia’s visit, the Story Museum is running two exciting workshops for primary-age children about the work of Hans Christian Andersen (a significant source of inspiration for Pia Tafdrup). The workshops, based on Andersen's stories ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and ‘The Princess and the Pea’ take place on Friday 17 February from 11-12.15pm and1-2.15pm, and are suitable for children aged 5-8. Visit the Story Museum website for more information and to book places. Tickets are £6.

    Poet and critic Sean O'Brien is giving the Weidenfeld Lectures at St Anne’s College here in Oxford over the next few weeks. Tomorrow his lecture is entitled ‘Displacement: Irish poetry and poets of Irish descent in Britain.’ The events takes place at 5.30pm in the Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre at St Anne’s College. He will also be giving a reading with Patrick McGuinness at The Albion Beatnik on Sunday 26 February from 6pm. All are welcome to these events, and you can find more details on the St Anne’s website.

    ‘Lip Service, or, La Haine’ is copyright © Charlotte Newman, 2016. It is reprinted from Trammel (Penned in the Margins, 2016) by permission of Penned in the Margins.

    Notes from Penned in the Margins: 

    Trammel is a radical book of poetry for an uncertain future. Voracious in her critique of modernity, Charlotte Newman ranges across the spectra of social and sexual politics - from Brexit to the Bechdel Test via Renaissance art and vintage computer games. These poems are stylish, muscular and linguistically agile. Always driven by a musical engine, Newman weaves the hard language of politics, technology, finance, science and the law into a new lyric texture. Urbane yet uncompromising, Trammel is the powerful debut collection from a voice that demands to be heard. You can read more about the book on the Penned in the Margins website, and read a further sample here.

    Charlotte Newman was born in Surrey in 1986. She read English at Selwyn College, Cambridge and holds an MA with Distinction in Modern and Contemporary Literature from Birkbeck, University of London. She won the inaugural Sabotage Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet in 2013 and was featured in The Salt Book ofYounger Poets in 2011. After a brief stint indexing the entire back catalogue of The Erotic Review, she worked as a journalist and publicist for a leading family law rm, writing articles for national newspapers while also contributing freelance reviews to The Observer, The New Statesman and Poetry Review, among others; she was shortlisted for The Scotsman’s Allen Wright Award for theatre criticism. Charlotte lives in London with her husband, the poet James Brookes, and works as a political communications consultant, specialising in healthcare. Trammel is her first full collection. You can follow Charlotte on Twitter.

    Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. The company believes in the power of language to challenge how we think, test new ideas and explore alternative stories. It operates across the arts, collaborating with writers, artists and creative partners using new platforms and technologies. Read more about its work on its website. You can also follow Penned in the Margins on Twitter and on Facebook.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.